The Castle of Otranto: A Gothic Story
First published pseudonymously in 1764, The Castle of Otranto purported to be a translation of an Italian story of the time of the crusades. In it Walpole attempted, as he declared in the Preface to the second edition, 'to blend the two kinds of romance: the ancient and the modern'. He gives us a series of catastrophes, ghostly interventions, revelations of identity, and exciting contests. Crammed with invention, entertainment, terror, and pathos, the novel was an immediate success and Walpole's own favourite among his numerous works. His friend, the poet Thomas Gray, wrote that he and his family, having read Otranto, were now 'afraid to go to bed o' nights'. The novel is here reprinted from the text of 1798, the last that Walpole himself prepared for press.
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Preface to the First Edition
Sonnet to the Right Honourable Lady Mary Coke 1
Other editions - View all
Alfonso Ann Radcliffe armour art thou attendants Bianca bless blood Castle of Otranto chamber child church Conrad convent cried Manfred dare daugh daughter death didst Diego domestics door dost thou doubt dreadful Edited by David endeavoured eyes fate father fiction flight Frederic friar gallery ghost Gothic fiction Gothic Story hand hear heard heart heaven helmet highness highness's Hippolita holy honour Horace Walpole horror ichnography impatience interrupted Introduction Jaquez Jerome knight lady Isabella London lord madam Manfred's marquis Matilda mother never novel Oxford passion Preface prince of Otranto prince's princess replied retired romance saint Nicholas scene secret servants Shakespeare soon soul speak stranger Strawberry Hill Supernatural Fiction tears tell tenderness terror thee Thomas Gray thou art thou hast thought tion Translated trap-door trembling tyrant unhappy vault Vicenza virtuous Voltaire W. S. Lewis Walpole's Correspondence Whig words wretched young peasant youth